Tag Archives: Thanks

The Last Day

Today is the last day of university classes. And while we still took some notes and talked about the last couple of movements in my ARH 202 class (Renaissance to Modern) I did something different. I received a package this week from the Amplifier Foundation, which was an education packet of posters they put together to send to educators who were signed up for their program. Through this program educators are guided on how to have conversations about art and the changing face of America. I have been working as a volunteer with this organization since the Women’s March in Washington DC almost a year ago. I supported the kick starter to have the images produced, and I am the proud owner of the 5 original images. The We the People campaign was magical and I am eternally thankful for those who made this all happen. The conversation about art is vital and important.

As an Amplifier Educator I was supposed to open the dialogue about art, diversity, equality, activism, etc. Today, on the last day of class, I got there a few minutes early and put the posters that I was sent up on the wall around my classroom. I lectured for about 40 minutes and then asked the students to get up and look at the art in the room. From there I told them once they had looked at it all to stand by the image that spoke to them the loudest. Once they were settled in place I asked them to explain why. What about the image struck them and what did they see? Some were drawn to the science posters because they’re science majors. Some were drawn to the Native American inspired posters that fight for water and the earth. Some were drawn to the equality images as they see how incredibly unequal the world around them is and strive to change that. The three Shepard Fairey images the We The People series had 7 students hovering around them. When I got to them, and why they liked what they saw, all of them were drawn to the determination of the faces of the individuals. Some identified because they were the same ethnicity, as well, but even those students commented on the determination seen in their faces. The pride they have for being African American, Hispanic, and Muslim was electrifying them and they gravitated toward it.

Y’all, today was the first day that I felt students connecting and seeing the power that art has in society and the world. I felt their interest spark and the desire to know more grow in each of them. Curiosity is magical, no? I can’t even begin to explain the sense of gratitude that I have for my job today. Or how fulfilled I am by how magical that moment was. What a way to end the semester! I need more days like today. I wish I had the money to buy loads of posters each semester to give out to these kids so they could keep the conversation going. That was my only stipulation for those who got a poster. They had to keep the conversation going.

I am for once looking forward to the Spring semester. Excited to see how the interaction with the new crop of students will be. I can’t wait.

If any of you are interested in the amplifier foundation, check them out at http://www.amplifier.org.

Holiday Reconnect

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It has been a hot minute since I’ve had an opportunity to blog. Since I moved I’ve been running around, unpacking, traveling, etc. and quite frankly I’m so happy to be able to be home for a few weeks before the travels start again. I need this time to ground myself. Focus. Hang out and just breathe!

I have had a blast running around though. I went to New Jersey to see my friend, Olga, and her family. Her oldest daughter got married and the wedding was beautiful! Spending time with Olga was much needed. I hadn’t seen her in 8 years, since I moved out of NYC. It was just like old times though. The only the that had really changed was she moved, and she got a cat. Everything else, the same.

Upon returning from Jersey I had to work one day and then I was off to visit my family in the North Carolina mountains. I drove way too much, but I was happy to get the time to see everyone. I like hearing what they’ve been up to. It was also my cousin Jon’s 26th birthday on Thanksgiving. I can’t believe he’s 26. Scares me that the youngest (he’s 3rd from the bottom age wise with the cousins) group of kids in our family will all be in their 30s very soon.

I spent Thanksgiving evening with my parents at their house. Mom had to work, so she was unable to go to the festivities at grandmas, but it was nice to see her and spend time with both of them. I broke the news that I had been seeing someone, Zack (just in case you didn’t know either). They were quite happy and look forward to meeting him. It won’t be over Christmas, because he has to work, but none the less, one day!

So here it is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. December will be here Friday. My lovely yogi sister, Starr, has a birthday on Friday too! And it wraps up the end of the semester for me. I’m excited to have time off from teaching. I get to focus my time on doing some academic writing for myself and studying for the GRE. Hurray! Christmas break is so fun! I have planned on doing a yoga tour of Wilmington. Spending time learning and practicing from those around me. I am excited to experience some new things and really push myself to get outside my comfort zone. I’m stuck there, and I have to stop it. So, naturally, I am going to go to my mat and try all the things. There are so many wonderful teachers in this town (it’s legit over flowing with amazing teachers) and it is silly of me not to take advantage. I think I might start on Friday morning, since it is the first day I have ‘off’ from work. And I know just who’s class to take. Alexis, I’m coming for you!

In addition to my yoga tour, I’m excited to study. To spend time expanding my knowledge and working toward a larger goal. I have been anticipating this time off so I could focus and just work on stuff I want to do, instead of stuff I have to do for work. Not that I don’t like that stuff, but sometimes I find it really hard to actually split the two and I know that I need to learn to do that again. I plan to pursue some big things, and push myself again. I’ve done a lot of pushing this year, and I want to wrap up the year itself with one last one. It will lead me into 2018 and help me stay focused next year. Because, I’m not doing all this stuff to not keep at it. Dreams are worth chasing. And I’m trying to focus on some short term goals for now, that will possibly lead me to that bigger dream. Dr. Deirdre. It has a fantastic ring to it, no?

In closing, here’s to the last week of classes! I look forward to the month off. I look forward to the holidays with friends and family. I look forward to pushing myself outside of this comfort zone so I can grow and prosper in a different way.

2017 has been an awesome year. 2018, I hope you’ll be the same.

Namaste!

The world in which we live…

At least once a day I check major news outlets in order to at least keep in check with what is going on in the world. Over the past year I have become overwhelmed with horrible things happening in America and around the world. Today I went and looked at the headlines on the Guardian. Sexual assault. The paradise papers. People exploiting other people. The police finally believe Corey Feldman after all these years of claiming to know about pedofiles in the entertainment industry. The government is going to allow drilling on federal land and pushing for more off shore oil. The moron of a President that was elected just one year ago. Hillary finally making a trip to Wisconsin. Gun violence.

100% nothing good. No positive change in the world. No actual strides to change this insanity that is spewing everyday. On Facebook earlier I saw something about how the American Empire is crumbling. Yes. Completely. The main infrastructure of this country is crumbling before our very eyes, and no one gives a shit. I’m glad when I see more folks showing up to protest one thing or another, and new elected officials are actually not cut from the same cloth as the president. But it isn’t enough. What do we do about the hundreds of people who should be paying taxes, but aren’t? What do we do when the president himself hasn’t paid them in decades? Why can’t the average folks of America actually get a break? Oh, yeah, because we have to pay for everything those who avoid paying aren’t helping with! Schools (no wonder teachers get paid like shit), Road and highway maintenance (yet we still have some of the most unsafe bridges in the world and no one wants to fix them), and other incredibly BASIC shit that gets pushed under the rug. The majority of the American public can’t get out of their cycle of debt in order to get ahead, and still no one cares. The rich people really don’t care because they’re not gonna lose anything. The rest of us, we simply attempt to hang on.

Tuesday was election day. It was just for local stuff for me–Mayor and city council. While the turn out increased from 10% to 14% from the last local election, that’s still only 14% of the population of the county. 14%. Give me a freakin break here man. Like get the fuck out and do the one thing you should really be willing to do. It literally breaks my heart and my will on a daily basis to see people so apathetic to the world around them. Do I go to every rally? No. Do I go to the ones that I think are important, yes! Do I go to city council meetings and make sure that shit goes the way it should? When I can. Do I do my best to participate in my local community? Yes. So what’s the hold up? People are just so distracted by the bullshit that has been created to distract everyone that they just don’t care, right? Is it the phone in your hand? The apps that are there to distract you? The fact that you can’t see past the end of your own fucking nose? I’m not perfect, I have an addiction to my electronics, but at the end of the day I know I can put them down and nothing will be different when I pick it back up. It will still be the same dumb shit that it was before…..

I suppose I am just feeling really enraged by the way that we treat each other, and how we’ve all become so isolated by one thing or another that we don’t care about our neighbors or our fellow countrymen. People aren’t safe anywhere. They can’t even go to a church or other house of worship (mosque, synagogue, etc) without the chance of dying because someone was given a gun. And the rest of us see this stuff on TV and read about it in the news and we’re all so numb to it now. It is like it doesn’t even matter to most of us, and that is disgusting. But it happens so damn much, how could you have that many emotions over the same thing that happens basically once a month in America. I think the majority of us would be mental wrecks (and God knows we don’t have the health care coverage to handle any mental issues!). It’s terrible that we’re numb to it, but it more a defense mechanism now than anything else. Am I right? Or am I alone here?

And all of this sexual assault news that is coming out? Like, how is it that society thought it was okay for us to treat each other so terribly?! Women being raped. Men being assaulted. I also find it interesting that more people believe the men who have come forward than they do the women. Kevin Spacey was one of my favorite actors, but now I can’t stand the sight of him. Yet more people believe the two men who came forward about his assaults on them then they do the dozens upon dozens of women who have come forward about multiple men in the industry! Why is that? Because she wanted it right? Because she was wearing something slutty and the men just couldn’t help but give her what she was asking for? Like, give me a break! What does a woman have to do to get a little respect around here? To get someone to actually believe her?!? I don’t understand why they believe men over women when it comes to assault! One person told me it was because it was so much harder for men to come forward than women, especially if the assault was from another man. Don’t buy it.

I practice all of this yoga, and teach these yoga classes talking about learning to love yourself and speak your truth, or whatever else is in my mind that day. And then sometimes I think to myself, why does it even matter? Not that my students aren’t good people or don’t actually take what I say into account and work on incorporating things into their own lives, but if the world is going to fight back so hard against them, then what’s the damn point? Yes, I want to make a difference in this crumbling Empire. What difference is that? Just to reconnect people to their own humanity. To see what it is like to have feelings and actually feel them. What can we do other than exist in our own human nature? But also, why can we not sit back and analyze what we’re doing and how we’re approaching situations. No, I’m not perfect. Yes, I have a lot of work to do on myself and my approach to others. Some days are always better than others, but at the same time at least I’m actually trying.

I didn’t intend this to be such a gloomy post, but that’s the other side of the coin I suppose. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows. Some days, some days there is nothing but giant rain clouds and downpours.

In closing, for those of you who take the time to read this, maybe see what it is that you can do for someone else. The holidays are approaching quick. Maybe take the time to help someone who has less than you. Maybe take the time to be nice to those you interact with in stores or wherever. Maybe even take minute to talk to someone you never thought you would find yourself talking to, listen to their story, and see what kind of things are happening all around you. And Maybe, just maybe, pull your face out of your phone long enough to see what is going on around you, experience your world, and see if you can’t make a difference. If I still believed in Santa, that’s what I would ask him for, people to be nice and actually care for one another instead of treating each other like disposable commodities as we’ve been doing for so long now.

Thanks for reading.

~Namaste~

Thanks, Universe!

It is a societal norm for us to stress over dumb things. Am I right? Whether it is something superficial like the clothes we wear not being “good” enough or the car we drive. Maybe it is where we live or how much we spend on fancy things like jewelry. All of that shit doesn’t matter. You think it does, but it doesn’t. Really sitting down and observing what you have, why do you have it? What purpose does it serve? Maybe it was a gift and you’re afraid of getting rid of it because it was a gift. Maybe you don’t even really like it? We’ve all been there.

I’m moving in 7 days. One more week in a place that I have grown to despise. It isn’t because I’m too good for where I am, or anything like that, but it is because the property managers royally suck, so many corners were cut to try and make this place “good” but it’s just falling apart. Do I have everything I need? Yes. Do I also hate the fact that my toilet never stops running (and no one will come fix it) and that there’s a good chance that if people in my building do laundry, my living room becomes a swamp. Yes. I can’t tolerate it anymore. But in this process of moving on to bigger and better I find myself getting rid of so much stuff that I never thought I would get rid of. From furniture to objects to dishes, etc. I went through a box that I have been keeping for years. I call it my box of important crap. Yeah, the shit I thought was once important isn’t important to me anymore. Love notes from old boyfriends, little trinkets that they had given me along the way, etc. Gone. I felt nothing anymore. No attachment. Nada. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, but I’m here at the end and I don’t care so much. And, here’s the kicker. It’s totally okay. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the shit go. I did. Not that you should do something because I suggest it, but why not give it a try?

Talking to a girl I did my Yoga training with the other day. I saw a fox painting that she would love, so I took a pic and texted it to her. We got to chatting about getting rid of old stuff and old energy to make room for new energy. And she said something that really resonated with me. I don’t need material things because my heart is so full. Full because of the things that I do on a daily basis. From teaching art to teaching yoga. It’s all really magical and I think the Universe agrees. I am content in my life. I’m excited about the future for the first time in a long time. I have something to work toward. And it seems that the Universe is going to provide some great opportunities for me to continue to be successful. What do I mean? Let me tell you a story.

Earlier in the summer my left eye started hurting. After a week it didn’t get any better so I went to the doctor. They sent me for a STAT MRI and ran all these tests and needless to say I had a huge bill by the end. Thanks to the American health care system! Anyway, I got everything in my account set up to be in a payment plan. $150 a month. I made the payments. I got a new bill in the mail on Friday last week saying I owed $300. Turns out I forgot to pay the damn thing last month. I’m not one to miss payments, but that isn’t the issue. I ended up calling the billing office to talk to them about the bill. I wasn’t understanding why it was as high as it was. The lady who helped me is a freaking saint. Turns out that they charged me for the MRI twice, and never applied the pre-payment that I made the day of the procedure to the account. So basically, my bill that was $2186 ended up being $307 by the time she fixed everything. Honestly, y’all. I was planning on getting an itemized list of everything I owed, so I could get financial help to pay it off. I couldn’t keep making the payment. But because this lady was actually doing her job, I just paid the $307 on my credit card and we called it a day. Moral of the story? Call and talk to people about the bills you have, especially if they’re medical! This is helping me because one less bill is always a blessing, right?

The story doesn’t stop there. I also work at a local University. Back in September I realized that I didn’t have any classes for Spring 2018 and asked when they would be setting up the schedule. Turns out they already had, but by mistake left me off. So I emailed my boss asking her to at least give me one class! This is the bulk of my income, so I need that to stay afloat. Time passed and I saw that I had one class on my schedule. Thankful! But I looked again two weeks ago and I had TWO! That was even better. Well, last week she emailed me again asking if I could teach a third class. Why yes, yes I can. I would love to. 3 is the max I can teach, so they don’t have to pay me benefits, but I will take 3. Then yesterday, just after I got off the phone with the lady at the billing office I checked my email because the Summer 2018 schedule had come out. Turns out I get to teach 2 sections each summer session. This is the max I can teach (or anyone for that matter) during the summer. And While I knew I had one class each session, having two now is like silver icing on the golden cake! I was brimming with joy! I had kept asking the Universe to help me figure this stuff out. Financial stuff gives me a lot of heartache, but I managed to get everything to work out in my favor. Big things are happening and I am so blessed and so thankful and grateful for those blessings.

Ultimate thanks to the universe. And also goes to show that worrying isn’t going to handle anything. You have to go out and make things happen for yourself. You have to keep asking the Universe to provide, and keep working hard in order to make that happen. You should also probably get rid of the old stagnant energy in your life to make room for new blessings to come in. If there’s no room for them, then they won’t show up! Silly as it sounds, I can’t help but thing it is real.

As I wrap up this time in this space I am thankful for what it has provided me in the time I’ve been here. It has facilitated some good, and a lot of bad, but those were obstacles that I had to handle. And I have. Now, HOPEFULLY I have done my damage and I can just relax for a bit.

Unrelated side note. Excited about Halloween! And I’m also super excited about the trip i’m taking in November to New Jersey. Going to see my old friend and watch her oldest daughter get married. Should be quite the party! I am also super excited about having some time to myself away from this town and such. I never go away, and if I do it isn’t far. So, going back to my old stomping ground is going to be great. Then it is the Holiday season and the end of my semester. Yikes! So crazy to think that everything is basically done.

I plan to spend Christmas break–the whole month off–just writing and researching and studying. I also plan to work really hard prepping for my upper level class in the Spring. I want it to be different. I taught it once and it wasn’t so great. But the first time never is. So this is my chance to get things together and really do it justice. Wee! I know I can. It is going to be epic.

Oh yeah, and today is my Dad’s 61st Birthday! Happy Birthday dad! Love you so much!

Okay. Time to get this day going. Yoga practice is go! And this is my new theme song.